Well, it was more of a question of when than if. The writing on the wall made 'REDRUM' look like the slip of a child's crayon. I guess I kind of feel bad for Pete. That's not to say I agree with every decision he made, or that he is top head coach in the NHL. However, his record since joining the Devils is more of a reflection of a lackluster roster then a fair judgement of his coaching abilities. Since the 2012-2013 departures of Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk, two of the top 10-15 players in the NHL at the time, the Devils organization has been throwing an ungodly amount of shit against the wall and praying it stuck. Whether that shit came in the form of Michael Ryder, or Damien Brunner, or Ryan Clowe, one criticism that can not be made is that Deboer was drastically underachieving. The talent on this team is the talent of a struggling, non-playoff team.
As much as I think Pete was dealt a poor hand, the guy has basically been going 'all-in' with a 2-4 off suited the last two years, I agree with his dismissal. Not because I think a coaching change will somehow spark this team to a playoff run. Just because I can only watch the same game replay in front of my very eyes for so often. For as painful as each soul crushing blown lead turned shootout loss was for me, I would imagine it was more disheartening for a coach that led the same team to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance mere years before. I don't think Pete deserved to lose his job. I just think at this point change was necessary. For a team that sucks, they were certainly a new brand of suck. I have never seen a team that sucks so bad take leads in so many games. I have never seen a team with such a lack of talent manage to stay within a single goal a majority of the time, even if the result was very rarely in their favor. Hell, if NHL games were only two periods long Deboer might be up for 'Coach Of The Year' instead of an addition to the unemployment line.
It's always easier to blame the coach. That's the type of criticism you leave yourself open to when you become the coach of any professional franchise. It's much easier to blame one man behind the bench than to accept that, regardless of who has to fall on the sword, the players that actual play the game aren't all that good. You can't win with a 42 year old shell of himself in Jagr, and an 'off the streets' free agent in Gomez carrying the offensive load. You can't win when you dress four extremely young defenseman at a time, and somehow the worst ones are your core veterans.
In the most Devils' move of all time, It looks as if Lou Lamoriello will man the bench with the help of Scott Stevens and Adam Oates. If were being completely honest, I love the move. At this point, winning is no longer the most important thing. This team and organization needs to develop and evaluate. There is a lot of dead weight on this roster and a lot of youth that needs to produce for the reconstruction of this team to be done in a timely manner. If one thing is clear with this situation it is that Stevens and Oates won't be coaching for their job like Deboer was. Pete was unable to make moves for the betterment of the future because he was expected to win now. At this point, the fastest way up might be down. It wouldn't have been smart to bring in a new head coach off the street to take over this mess. It wouldn't have resulted in some drastic difference in on-ice performance and he would have been the next coach under the bus within months. Much rather have two guys come in and help develop some familiar faces in a familiar system and organization. Plus, any Devils fan that doesn't give Scott Stevens nostalgia points isn't a true Devils fan at all. That guy could burn my house down on a Sunday afternoon and I would still worship the ground under which he walks.
P.S. Hilarious that Lou Lamoriello said it was "unfair" to expect one man to take over this mess of a team. Makes the dismissal Of Deboer look more like a mercy killing than an actual firing.